Stop 7 – Alfred Square
Stop 7 – Alfred Square
Text and script written by Heritage Victoria
Produced by Malcolm McKinnon
Narrated by Peter Mares
From the audio tour From Riches to Rags and Back Again, created by Heritage Victoria.
Alfred Square was set aside for public recreation in 1842 when the area was first subdivided - a farsighted move given how tightly developed the area would become. A plaque commemorates the site of the first European structure built in St Kilda – a stockman's hut with bay views.
Across the road is a pair of single-story Victorian terraces, numbers 1-2 Alfred Square. In the 1850s, Alfred Square would have been surrounded with houses like these – single storey Early Victorians. Now they are the exceptions - the only homes not craning their necks for a sea-view.
Download this audio file and head to St Kilda to do the walk.
Click Here to see a photo of Euretta, previously on the corner of Alfred Square and Wimmera Place.
Audio Transcript for Stop 7
We’re in Alfred Square, looking at the Victorian terraces at numbers 1 – 2. This is stop number 7 on our tour.
How incongruous these two remnants of old St Kilda look in amongst the apartment blocks and framed by the green glass tower growing out of the Espy Hotel. In the nineteenth century, Alfred Square would have been surrounded by Victorian houses facing the green. Now these are the exceptions - the only homes not craning their necks for a sea-view.
These are amongst the earliest homes we pass on this walk, dating from 1855 and 1858. Both are plain, with minimal decoration and this would have been standard for the time. Although gold was first discovered in Victoria in 1851, the erection of the house at 2 Alfred Square pre-dates the boom that earned our city the nickname of Marvellous Melbourne and produced the more ornate homes of the mid to late Victorian period.
Number 2, “Tranmere” is the older of the pair and has been less altered over time. It's likely that the original verandah was canvas and was replaced later with corrugated iron, or the entire verandah may be a later addition. The giveaway is the way in which the verandah cuts into the window head on the western side.
Leave the Square now and walk up Wimmera Place, the street running away from the beach.
As you pass Number 3, the large brown high rise on your left, try to imagine it in another life. Once, it was a graceful mansion called Euretta, built in 1857, around the same time as the two terraces we’ve just looked at. In the 1850s, five houses faced the bay view on Alfred Square, all of which have now been demolished.
You should have a church in your sights as you head down Wimmera Place. Very likely the residents of Alfred Square were members of this new congregation, and would have walked up to Church on a Sunday morning…
Stop at number 7, the house with the rainbow lorikeets in the trees.